Dáil debates

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement: Motion [Private Members]


4:05 pm

Photo of Mick BarryMick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity) | Oireachtas source

I raise the issue of the Mercosur trade agreement in respect of climate change. The United Nations has told us there are 11 years in which to prevent irreversible damage to the planet from climate change. The trade agreement seriously undermines attempts to do that. The world number one carbon sink, the Amazon rainforest, is under threat from deforestation. Some 800 sq. km of rainforest was hacked down in 2018. That is an area 100 times the size of Manhattan. Cattle ranchers and farmers are responsible for 80% of that deforestation. The world's largest meat processor is a Brazilian corporation called JBS. Its greenhouse gas emissions were greater than the total greenhouse gas emissions of the Netherlands in 2016. It sells meat from companies that have been fined for deforestation. The situation has worsened in the past six months with the election of the extreme right-wing President, Bolsonaro. Since the start of the year, there has been a dismantling of environmental protections, a surge in the number of invasions of lands owned by indigenous peoples and a large spike in deforestation in the Amazon.

These are the corporations and politicians whom the Minister is talking about doing a trade deal with for more beef. The Mercosur agreement, the so-called cows for cars trade deal, is a boost for the Brazilian beef industry, those responsible for deforestation and those who threaten the climate and planet. The EU had a trade-for-all strategy in 2015, where it indicated it could use trade agreements to promote sustainable development. The deal in question does nothing of the sort.

It is not a one-way street. The export of cars, many of them German, to the Mercosur countries will not help the climate, although it will help the German car industry, which will sell many sport utility vehicles or gas guzzlers. It will mean job devastation for car workers in countries such as Argentina and for industry in those countries.

Capitalism threatens the very future of the planet, putting profit above all else, including the needs of the environment and the next generation. If one needs further proof, one should look at the Mercosur trade deal. We oppose the deal and will support the motion.


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